Regular exercise is essential for a healthy body. Research has routinely shown that people who exercise on a consistent basis are healthier, and as a result live longer than people who live a sedentary lifestyle. As a chiropractor, I find that patients are usually unsure about what types of exercise they should be doing to get the best results. A complete exercise program should include cardiovascular exercise, strength training and range of motion exercises.
Cardiovascular exercise is simply anything that increases your heart rate. This can be anything from brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming, elliptical machine or an a aerobics class, just to name a few. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. If you are unsure of what constitutes vigorous exercise, if you are unable to say more than a few words without stopping your workout, it is defined as vigorous.
Research has shown that the benefits of cardiovascular exercise are numerous. It can help lower you blood pressure, decrease levels of bad cholesterol and increase levels of good cholesterol. All of this lowers your risk of heart attack or stroke. It can also help stabilize insulin levels, which helps prevent diabetes. Cardiovascular exercise is also great to help lose and control your weight.
Often I hear from patients that they don’t want to begin strength training, or lifting weights, because they are afraid they will get “too bulky.” Unless you are making a conscious effort to “bulk up” it’s not going to happen, so don’t worry! Strength training isn’t just for people looking to become body builders, it has benefits for people of all ages.
Strength training helps protect our bone health and muscle mass. This becomes especially important as we age. If you want to be able to be able stand up, walk around and be independent as you reach you 70s, 80s, or 90s, you have to ensure that your muscles and body are strong enough to accomplish this. This is why strength training is so important. Strength training has also been proven to boost mood and energy levels. Also, research has shown that people lose more weight when they combine cardiovascular exercise and strength training, as opposed to cardio alone.
Range of Motion Exercises
The most common type of exercise people tend to neglect are range of motion exercises. These exercises can include stretching, yoga, or foam rolling. The goal of this type of exercise is to improve flexibility, decrease muscle tension, and even decrease pain levels. A few minutes of stretching and foam rolling is a great way to warm up before a workout or cool down afterwards. This can help prevent exercise induced injuries, yet people often skip this portion of their workout.
Consistent chiropractic care can also help with range of motion. I often find that patients tell me that they are able to work out harder, and stay injury free during workouts, when they keep up with regular adjustments.
Cardio, strength training, and range of motion exercises are all essential for a complete workout program. Make sure that you keep up with all three types of exercise to improve your body, stay healthy and live a long, active life.